Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 10, 2013 2:00pm-3:15pm EST

2:00 pm
bicep to come the professor of law the university of pennsylvania. thank you for your time, sir. >> guest: you're very welcome. >> jemma petraeus talks about the u.s. military to fight future small wars against insurgents and terrorists. watch him for the hour here on the tv. [applause] >> thank you. thanks for coming out. i read a column called war stories. the word wars in the subtitle of my book, but you might notice really don't write about war. i don't write battle scenes and i'm not one of these reporters who just aches to get back into some were scenes where i can get shot at. it's just not what i's jus
2:01 pm
..t what i'm interested in doing is policy and ideas and where do these ideas come from? they don't just drop from the sky. they usually do not automatically appeal to everybody as a matter of logic. where did the ideas come from? who were the people and there were a lot of comp eating ideas. how did this particular set of ideas get transferred? was there resistance? how was the resistance overcome? it usually isn't just one person. it's a community of people. how did this community form? will was the basis of a? that is what history is all about. it's a story. that is what the stories are about. it's about the interplay between personalities in politics and policy and accident, coincidence. that is what i'm interested in and i am interested in how this
2:02 pm
applies to war because war and all of the arenas of human conduct, this is the most high-profile thing there is. i mean, it's the difference between life and death for thousands of people. it's the difference between national victory and national defeat. it's the highest level although in some ways the most brutish and in some ways the most abstract level with the human plague so the stakes are very high. this isn't just talking about ideas that are discussed in the university and end up in some academic journal. this affects the most high-profile waffled of human conduct. so that is why i'm interested in this and that is what this book is about. also what enters into this
2:03 pm
particular story is that it covers a pivotal era in american history and world history, when everything is his changing. the cold war is over. a new world is coming into focus and it's still not really in locus. we are still living in this world. what is the nature powered? what is of place of america in it and how does this group of people that i'm interested in following, how do they affect what's going on? it's about a generational shift. it begins -- though most of the book takes place during the iraq and afghanistan wars as a backdrop but it begins with the first iraq war ,-com,-com ma the gulf war of 1991 and i come into this young lieutenant who is was just three years out of west point and he is leading a platoon in iran -- iraq. he just got out of west point as i said one of the top students ended chosen to go into the
2:04 pm
armor corps because the big war that the army was preparing for was going to be nato versus -- the united states versus the soviet union. he had gotten fluent in the language of german because that is where he would be spending most of his career. he is on the plains of iraq and you might remember they did a month's worth of arming and four days of ground operations and completely destroyed the iraqi military. he is looking around and realizing, we just destroyed the 4 -- the world's fourth largest largest -- in four days. a few months before this the soviet union went up in smoke. the cold war is over and he is thinking what am i going to be doing for the rest of my life? what is the army going to be doing the rest of my life?
2:05 pm
he came with the idea that nobody is ever going to challenge the united states again in a head-on contest of strength. it's going to be other kinds of complex. maybe insurgencies terrorist attacks, that sort of thing. he didn't know anything about this because he never learned it at west point. they didn't teach it at west point. they didn't teach it and staff college so he went off to oxford and got a graduate degree and wrote a book called learning to be soup with a knife which came from lawrence of arabia's description of fighting a guerrilla war and he compared the british experience in malaya which succeeded and the american experience in vietnam which didn't. he tried to figure out what was the difference? the difference was that the americans fought in vietnam as if it were a conventional battle in the british fought as if it was a new kind of war.
2:06 pm
actually as we will discover later there was more than that. he goes back to west point to teach and a lot of his colleagues, they are fighting these new kinds of wars that are emerging. they have been fighting in el salvador or somalia or haiti or bosnia and they realize that their army has no kinds of conflict. it's a little hard to believe but it's true. the army defined war as strictly major combat operations, tank battles against comparably mighty foes. the other kinds of complex, terrorists, insurgents and that sort of thing, they are called in capital letters military operations other than war. it wasn't even a war. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff at the time once said real men don't do -- and yet the real men that john
2:07 pm
was surrounding himself with head and it felt like a war to them. they called them the other than war wars of the 90s. they were wars. in the meantime the main character david petraeus who is one of the few people in the book that most people of heard of, and would later become a protége of petraeus graduated from west point in 1974, one of his first exercises and one of his first assignments was to go join up with airborne battalions in france and italy. while he was there he came across some books that were about counterinsurgency warfare and again petraeus hadn't studied any of this at west point either. but he is reading this books and especially a book by a retired french colonel named david kahlúa called counterinsurgency warfare and he comes across some
2:08 pm
ideas that he had never crossed in any book he had read. for example these kinds of wars are only 20% military and 80% political. they are battles for the hearts and minds of the people. in these kinds of wars a mimeograph machine can sometimes be as useful as a machine gun. it's cement that can be as useful as a mortar shell. this is just a revelation to me. several years later he goes down to el salvador. he's a special assistant to the commander of of the southern command and sees this kind of war going on. in el salvador and nicaragua and peru. he later goes to bosnia where this isn't really quite well-known, he was heading up a clandestine counterterrorist unit in bosnia. soon after that, he goes to ira.
2:09 pm
starting in 2003. he is part of the force. he is the commander of the 101st airborne division. he goes up the desert to baghdad and then he is assigned to to go up to mosul in northern iraq and occupy mosul. now again this is one of these things that is hard to believe but the united states had no plans for what to do after saddam hussein fell. they deliberately had plans. it was an oversight. it was deliberate because the plan was overthrow saddam and get out. just like we overthrew the taliban in afghanistan and then got out of there and of course afghanistan fell apart. i and iraq is falling apart very quickly. we are facing an insurgency we don't know what to do with like all the officers who are there have not been trained to fight this sort of war. it was not in the manuals and
2:10 pm
they didn't know what to do so they do what they usually do which was to bang down doors and arrest people. anyone who has read kahlúa would have known as counterproductive because you end up killing the wrong people and you inflame -- you make them mad so the insurgents is flaming and meanwhile petraeus in mosul decides to put into effect the ideas in these books he has been reading. he and his guys start setting up an election for the new district. they vet the candidates candidatecandidate s and they said that the elections. they bring in fuel trucks. they reopened the university. they get communication systems going. they get some iraqis to open up newspapers. he opens up the border to syria along northern iraq. he does all this on his own. he is not doing it in the
2:11 pm
coordination of anybody washington, baghdad or anyplace and it works for a while. then he is rotated out and the brigade comes than half the size of his division led by somebody who spent the previous four months bashing down doors in until someone else comes in later. here's where the story starts to get interesting. here's where the groups on each other. i am condensing a lot of things but let me give you some of the basics. petraeus is sent off to ft. leavenworth. a lot of people in the army didn't like petraeus. they didn't like officers who were too bookish or who stood out too much and petraeus was very much on many counts. zero he was sent to ft. leavenworth kansas and a lot of people are thinking the fair-haired leg, they are sending them out to pasture. he gets to ft. leavenworth and he realizes something. he realizes that this is actually the intellectual sector
2:12 pm
of the army. they write doctrine. they form the curriculum and command general staff college. they organize the national training centers and they loop these together the lessons from one affects the lessons of the other which affects the patterns of the next. he says to himself as he is learning all this, and the powers he potentially has. he says holy cow and he talks like that. he says things like holy cow and jeepers. he says holy cow they have put an insurgent in charge of the exchange. he viewed himself as an insurgent. meanwhile -- though there are a lot of meanwhile's. been while there is a professor at the school of national studies in wishing to d.c.. and in the mint historian and a leading neoconservative. he was one of the people who signed the petitions that we have to invade iraq by force.
2:13 pm
he is also a member of the defense policy advisory board. so he goes over to iraq and he's the only member of the board that goes here and he sees it's a disaster. there is this insurgency and nobody knows what to do. now he comes back feeling really upset because again and feeling kind of pangs of guilt because you know he was advising this administration. he had advocated for this war. his son who like him had graduated from harvard and recently joined the army and was going to be sent to iraq. he was going to be sent into this mess that he sort of helped create said he thinks he has to do something about this. he sets up a seminar in basing harbor vermont and he goes through his rolodex and its military journals. he invites everybody that he can find who has written anything remotely interesting about the subject of counterinsurgency.
2:14 pm
he comes up with about 30 people and they all assembled in basing harbor for five days to discuss these things. the pivotal thing about the speaker is not so much what they discussed is that they met. most of these people didn't know each other before. they didn't know of one another's existence. they thought they were out on a limb on it during them writing stuff that no one was going to read that was way against what was going on in the mainstream army. a lot of these people were junior officers and some of them were mid-level officials think-tank types. they realize they had formed a community and they might be feel to do something if they worked together. they come away from basin harbor with a great sense of mission. meanwhile petraeus is sitting in leavenworth. he knows a lot of these people who are at this conference. some of them were his students, his colleagues are people who
2:15 pm
had been under his command. he decides to one thing he is going to do in leavenworth is write a new counterinsurgency field manual for the army. there hadn't been one for 20 years and he draws on this group from the basing harbor conference to be his inner circle, to be his aides, to be the people who help him writes this write this conference. in other words outside the usual doctrinal channels within the army. .. >> surge of troops in iraq, you know, sending 120,000 troops. and, number four, that he's changing strategy to essentially a counterinsurgency strategy. he calls it clear, hold and
2:16 pm
build which was an old phrase that came out of some of these books, the idea that he'd clear an area of insurgent, then you say there, you hold it. you don't just turn it over to the iraqis who aren't capable of holding it. you stay there and help build an infrastructure. build trust within the community, help build a security structure. so these four things did not happen by coincidence. it was all part of this plot. and by the way, when i use the word "plot," i generally am not a conspiracy guy. but these people refer to themselves as a plot. they called themselves the cabal or the west point mafia, because a lot of them came out of the social science department of west point which had a tradition of forming networks among theire own graduates. so this was very conscious. and, for example, it's -- all of this happened not by coincidence. for example, petraeus when he was in leavenworth, he wasn't
2:17 pm
just sitting in leavenworth. he had alv vast network of oldot colleagues throughout the pentagon bureaucracy. he's reaching out to them.s he deliberately forms a back v channel. he cultivates this woman in the white house named megyn to o'sullivan who is president bush's every chief adviser in the national security council. he sees she's kind of wavering. l security council and seized she is wavering and they're talking on the phone practically every day. this is outrageous.
2:18 pm
a three-star general from fort wet weather worsened talking on the phone every day with the senior advisor to the president of the united states general casey you is a four-star general commanding troops he says we only need one more brigade so those are arguments why it isn't enough so when it comes, by the way it is not paula bridewell but strictly professional. but subverting the chain of command he always has been off the reservation guy to do what is necessary here but at the same time a
2:19 pm
civilian analyst used to teach history he rode a steady advocating the surge at the american enterprise institute. said to get this into the warehouse into the pentagon to some of these subordinates in iraq so basically by the time the trade is becomes the commander everything is lined up to impose a strategy with the united states government this is not a coincidence, it is very exclusively coordinated. what does he do? one thing that is already
2:20 pm
starting to have been is this is a pivotal moment serial iraq and allied with al qaeda, it goes several steps to fire their getting upset and one to break with al qaeda and there is a criminal named shawn mcfarland to canada this group to switch to our side to fight but the trieste's realizes what is going on to apply this struck the country and does this by setting up a program called the sons of iraq. he pays them out of the
2:21 pm
commander discretionary fund. with a neighborhood watch those who have been shooting at american's two weeks earlier and at the same time he needs to go after the militia prime minister maliki told the prime minister's day at of sadr city now in some kind of alliance he just send these guys in and does not wait for approval. there is a huge decline of
2:22 pm
sectarian violence but here is where we come into a problem with counterinsurgency, pretorius has said the goal of the campaign is to create a breathing space so the factions can get there act together to forge a cohesive group but maliki had no interest to do any of this to set up the oil revenue sharing plan or no interest to bring in the sons of iraq's into the iraqi army as was promised so what we
2:23 pm
see now at a much, much lower-level sectarian violence and an unstable state. afghanistan, of betraying us comes from iraq is a miracle worker. i am condensing but he creates miracles and iraq may be afghanistan. obama as an experiment bought onto it with their counter insurgency strategy. the problem is remember the book i mentioned the trade
2:24 pm
is and others are consulting regularly, it is a good book but there is one chapter called conditions for a successful insurgency that might make an effort to ground and they include a corrupt central government, a largely illiterate role population, now minister rein, a neighboring state that is used as a sanctuary sanctuary, it is a description of afghanistan. to be then drop a diagram of the typography of what it would look like you could do the overlay so he knows going in this is extremely
2:25 pm
long odds that bass. in iraq top commander, it was the third tour of duty. he brings the same on dryish, and it is common to all of us look at the prism of what we know. he had power point* slides afghanistan is not iraq. i interviewed well over 100 people and they said a problem came up he would say in and bar we did this are we solved the problem this way when time in a meeting with president rsi he said with this problem happened in baghdad reid didn't like this his assistant in the room said it may be useful
2:26 pm
intellectual experiment not to think about iraq. >> he said i am thinking about it but it never felt together. there were ingredients there for the counter insurgency to work where that we in the local tribesmen had a common interest that leads to a final observation from another counter insurgency experts named david who was an australian who came to the united >> he writes some memos that were widely read by junior officers in the field, and can be in 2008 he's realizing, you know, he's really kind of blooming. he should be feeling very good
2:27 pm
about himself, but he'd alwayss thought -- and, by the way, a lot of these guys thought that invading iraq was a really stupid idea.s but once we're there and the insurgency's there, we've got to fight them. but he always thought, look, it's not my job to advise on policy. that's a political thing. if you don't like it, you should throw out the people that you elected.ould i'm here to try to make the situation as, you know, as good as, you know, i'm trying to minimize the catastrophe. he's realizing, you know, as an expert i really should advise on the policy. at the time he was a special adviser to secretary of state condoleezza rice. he puts together a counterinsurgency manual for the civilian part of the government because it was always thought civilian bureaucracy should get involved in this too. except deciding not to write this for, you know, mid-level
2:28 pm
bureaucrats, but for the policymakers. and inat a couple places heould writes: it is folly -- those were the words he chose -- it is folly to even begin to undertake a counterinsurgency campaign abroad unless you have some ider that the country that you're helping is interested somewhat in reform.y remember the thing about the 20% military, 80% political? the insight that these guys had about these kinds of wars is that insurgencies actually grow out of the social situation.c they appeal to the people because the government is falling short on doing certain things. whether genuinely opportunistically, they offer an alternative, and what counterinsurgency has to do isop not only go after the bad guys, but to co-opt them, to dry up the support for them by showing that the government -- by helping, shoring up the government so that it could do its job.
2:29 pm
short whether opportunistic lee they offer the alternatialternati ve and let counterinsurgency hasted do is coopt to drive up the support so it can do its job and the government just isn't going to do a job and policy makers must do a calculation if they seem inclined when they go in. from july 2009 in europe ministration comes then one week later but in fact, this did not represent deal the administration but it would have done them well to read this. after this side will take
2:30 pm
questions their worthies meeting this obama and his national security team to be in the world it was big enteral arguments but obama decided we give the 40,000 troops you want, 30000 + want, 30000 + 7000 with a counter insurgency strategy but here's the thing after 18 months, after the search is over, i will start withdrawing some of the surge troops within 18 months you could turn around so much the afghan army could take the lead and yes,
2:31 pm
sir,, no questions. the tray is newt it would take much longer. this goes on for years why did you say yes? first it was not that kind of a meeting of looking for advice but take-it-or-leave-it but when you are a general calling a military advice if you think there is a game it is your responsibility to give correct military advice. but then he thought if i make enough progress he has to go deeper. don't thank you can come back and say mr. president i think three more brigades will do the trick. this is said. no coincidence within 80
2:32 pm
months almost to the day obama appears and is pulling out all of the surge troops, all of them over the next year. he had dead good situation to portray this as a victory , a killing of some of them on in, and decimated troops, the afghan army is getting better but they did not need the extra 33,000 troops said they changed the mission. since then counterinsurgency has appeared it is now abandoned something we should not do and reverting back to an american and way of war. drums from the sky and commando raids and on the
2:33 pm
one hand at least reese don't send 100,000 troops to uganda but it sets up this solution of military operations other than war i'm sure somebody asked are we at war in mali or uganda uganda, there are not that many people on the ground but that is the problem that it creates an antiseptic depriving us of the view of mayhem and chaos on the ground and does suck us and it could be a good way to handle but we should not be fooled this is not war and
2:34 pm
that is serious for the people that are subjected whether a lot of troops or missiles from the sky. i will take whatever questions you have. >> where will we next go to war? >> quite a few places already we are assisting the french in mali. i am not against some of these things. take mali, whenever obama is advisers to the said his policy is to lead from behind but it happens the french have a vital interest going in his 2500 troops, they ask for help. we'll have a vital interest
2:35 pm
that interested in al qaeda to take off of big swaths so for example, we provide long-range aircraft we provide drones for surveillance also libya libya, neonate -- unique capabilities, one thing that will change most of this is done by the california i think one of the new secretary of defense in the intelligence chiefs want to turn this back over to the
2:36 pm
military so that it is not have embroiled in secrecy from the beginning at the see a nature is secret slip will be out in the open. >> what was the level of the chess rating of the book and what is his reaction of being published? >> i interviewed 110 people for the book including the trade as. he always has been solicitous of the reporters including me. he kind i'd like singing with reporters but he sees what the military calls propaganda wear this is the way to get it out i remember
2:37 pm
i can tell you, a four-star generals before pretorius, you meet with them and think what kind of outfit can this guy become the four-star general? then you talk to betray his or stand in a crystal and think he is a smart guy he knows history strategy and think strategically and maybe he knows what he is doing so you get it -- give him a break so it is a trade-off with the people in washington. you knew what he was doing and he knew that's but he went with it anyway. what he thinks of the book
2:38 pm
when he emerges from his exile, they should ask him. >> will chuck hegel get confirmed or will the senate blocked that? >> i watched the hearings a little bit today but several republicans don't like him but substantively that the critics are bothered by this the fact he did not support this surge in iraq so what type of judgment you have and the business about the jewish lobby has intimidated people in congress. the search, almost everybody opposed the surge. if you get after people
2:39 pm
because they did not support the surge can after hillary clinton and, barack obama, get after the entire joint chiefs of staff at the time who were all against the surge. you can make the case it works in the tactical way and it did cost a lot of money and a thousand extra soldiers died was that worth it? i don't know. but it is not a clear-cut fact that we won. but the jewish lobby question, the israeli press we refer to the jewish lobby there has been this thing going for years anybody to
2:40 pm
chris -- criticizes israel your anti-semitic you're talking about jews, not brazil -- israel. it is playing with words. i knowed jews in nebraska that never got any sense of anti-semitism the last three years has been president of mama's chair intelligence advisory board i have talked to people who have sat at meetings with them and i have been told that they have no dog in the fight there was no deal logical
2:41 pm
tilt with questions of iran's nuclear program. and the quality of the answers under questioning is kind of pathetic, but i don't know. i am sure the votes are lined up for him to win but you don't know. >> tell me what you think of the role of the military with a low intensity conflict what is the role of the state department? no doubt the army was effective to reduce the enemy but then social and political and economic restructuring not sure it is the military's role, they
2:42 pm
learned it fast and did it well but it resisted department and department of agriculture and political arms we had? >> but they needed to be attached to a military brigade for security. said essentially there was a surrender that was just reconstruction. but this has been realized slowly that's this is not
2:43 pm
set up like a colonial government when the french have colonies they control the place just like the british with the bureaucracy security, economics, politic al, our justice department and fbi, congress, justice has overseas operations but they don't want them to be related to the military or seen as instruments of foreign policy. to undercover operations they don't want a military
2:44 pm
operation. but in with these meetings talking about afghanistan with the departure of agriculture after afghanistan and robert gates grew up in kansas have been no they know how to grow anything? it has been a problem. betray a says come i'm. they're not trained to do that with a they should or not the they have never been
2:45 pm
trained civic i appreciate you coming. i am a retired artillery officer hinder than betray us with that kind of gap it was a culture shock but with special forces and insurgency and if it meshes with the drones reusing that seems to be proliferating and your take on the ethical concerns a said capturing people we blow them away. >> one thing crystal did did create so he reached out to resolve the different
2:46 pm
intelligence agencies and conventional forces. when he went out he had access to every kind of intelligence there was handed revolutionized, a very integrated. that could be the subject of another talk. one, in terms of casualties is somebody fired a drone and was on me not much larger than the man the front row and in the old days to get me you need to have a good chance of what is the most inhumane? doing these things in places
2:47 pm
we're not at war but in some instances there is this guy, there he is. doing xyz and how that's okay. and making the big fuss of obama and who'd you want? the politically responsible person of united states or the director of the cia? but we're really don't like it where basically is somebody manages a profile of the kind of bad guy with the nine criteria because
2:48 pm
mainly you will be wrong a fair amount of the time it is not just bad but counterproductive we are about to have a major debate taken out of the hands of the california where it can be discussed openly. especially the legal to have serious problems. we have decided torture is not a good idea is that better or worse the other problem i have with it is it just looks a little too easy
2:49 pm
and provides an excuse to dig into the complexity nobody has time to analyze some here are the bad guys causing problems let's do it with a that's addressing the real problem solving the real crisis sometimes used well it could be a useful tool the more often than not used as evasion. >> united states has not won a war since 1945 and it looks like vietnam no difference between republicans and democrats except ron paul. to pull out of the mideast
2:50 pm
that what are we there for oil or minerals or the heroin trade i am concerned about this. world war ii is actually in history rules were too is an anomaly does not been a lot that leads to the total surrender particularly getting involved in now with negotiation or some new power arrangement some coalition we look back when there was a surrender
2:51 pm
ceremony where the emperor of japan says i surrender but we have not won awards since then it depends what you mean. i don't know. i could think of small words but it is not small to the people fighting and. if we're in the middle east and pulling out of a lot of troops i cannot foresee a time when the united states or any large power depending on this society would bugout leaving it to chance to go
2:52 pm
from the isolationist stance we are stuck there. unless you consider that guinness import of the middle east bridal think we're there for the heroin trade. there was some freelancing going on but the superpower in a complicated world i will wrap this up quickly that the paradox of winning the cold war was an absolute win because we have woven the complex of power of the
2:53 pm
cold war besides being horrendous was a system of international order well a lot of people in countries may not have the same interest they would go because they did not like the alternative, and then a close-up, there is no more soviet union. then you have a fractured power centers, we might be the most maybe before the of wars we're fighting we have muss route -- much less leverage going nine in the world because the fulcrum does not apply to the power
2:54 pm
balances and power grabs going on now. it is a very confused world and and tell it will be the ad hoc policy, i don't know somebody came up with a grand strategy and how to maximize the influence i know what that would be our anybody who knows what it would be. >> with such certainty we need another question. >> with the fiscal cliff and the strategic of it comedy think it is wise to cut the ground forces and that
2:55 pm
manpower intensive we looked at the army in the marine corps some suggested outside of government 25% to the army and marine corps. is that why is? to read a more robust advisory capability beyond with special forces says? >> good question. there are things to cut into the defense budget that doesn't have much effect we have $20 billion per year to maintain nuclear weapons force. i thank you could get that significantly. as a last -- less expensive
2:56 pm
of the f-22 it was almost being as expensive, we do very well air to air tools there are these days. we could probably stop that program but you raise an interesting question about the army. the army is facing kind of an existential crisis right now. you know, major combat operations? i don't see, youp know, russia invading western europe. if there's a war with china, ir don't see it being a ground war, at least not with us involved. president obama and secretary panetta and the joint chiefs of staff in their strategy reviewne oftt a year ago which is the mot attention to that was the pivote from europe to the pacific, one thing in that review that wasn't so well noted was the idea that it's kind of an end of nation building. he said the army and marines shall not size its forces for large-scale, prolonged stability operations which translated to english is like no more iraqs and afghanistans. not just no more iraqs and
2:57 pm
afghanistans, but when you do your scenarios, when you crank your calculations to figure out how many troops you need, thiss is not even the kind of scenario that should enter into the calculation. and as you say, the small stuff is mainly special forces. some people, including john nogle, have proposed setting up a special advise and assist, you know, soldiers who would be specialists in being advisers to overseas armies. and i think that is what a lot of the army is doing now.h they find it -- but they're kind of in a pickle. they don't know, they don't know what to do. as you might know, you know, there's something out in western california in the desert called the national training center. during the cold war there were these massive mock tank battles where team red and team blue would go at each other. when iraq and afghanistan happened, they erected these mockville annals, and theye na
2:58 pm
hire -- mock villages. and they played these very useful, very creative games. well now, you know, those are being dismantled, but what they're doing now, they're calling it full spectrumcall operations. we're training for a little bit of everything. so you go out to the national training center, they're doing, they're starting to do spank maneuvers den -- to do tanko maneuvers for the first time iny ten years. they'res firing artillery shell. but they're also doing humanitarian assistance, they're doing a little bit of things with the villages. they don't know what they're training for, so they're kind of training for everything. and as you also well know, the best way to cut money cheaply, the best way to cut a budget quickly is by cutting manpower because say you want to cut an aircraft carrier. well, you know, it's going to take five years to build that aircraft carrier. in the first year you're only spending about 5% of the budget, so you think you're cutting $5
2:59 pm
billion, well, this year really no, you're only cutting a couple hundred million. but you get rid of a guy who's eating up $100,000 in one way ou another, then you've just saved yourself $100,000. is so there's a great temptation, and i think you'll see more reduction. now, how do i think about this? um, i don't know. i mean, i've talked about this kind of thing with some of the people whose names you'd recognize who have four stars on their am pew lets, and they're kind of in a panic. it's hard to even come up with the arguments on high wings should change -- why things should change. but i think they are going to take the easy way out on this. >> one last question over here.d >> uh-huh? >> better be a good one. >> yeah, let's do it. >> my name's david, i'm a retired special forces officer. >> oh, okay. >> lived in -- our job in iraq was to, we were combat advisers
3:00 pm
to an iraqi brigade, so i livedt with the iraqi army for a year. >> when were you there? >> we entered in the summer of 2007 and left in the summer of of 2008. >> okay. >> so right at the height of -- >> yeah. >> -- of violence and also theat beginning of the sons of iraq program which we helped implement. i felt that when al-qaeda camee in, they were very popular. they had a are popular ideology. let's kick out the invaders, bet better muslims, and the iraqis said,t yes, let's do that. but they switched their targeting once u.s. coalition forces became better armored, better tactics. they were harder to hit, harder to kill, and al-qaeda started to shift targeting those -- targeting towards those that clapped with us, and i felt that was in large part the beginning of the end for al-qaeda in iraq. can you comment on that?
3:01 pm
>> the beginning of the end? h >> the beginning of the end.hose >> oh, no, it was, absolutely. .. bar some approach to shawn mcfarland of the first brigade and said listen a lot of us are getting upset with al qaeda they killed a couple and we are willing to sign the deal if you can assure al qaeda had a good slogan going, which was kill the infidel occupiers, and when they couldn't do that very well anymore and they started fog after just the collaborators.
3:02 pm
they were fighting a war of hearts and minds, too, and about the same time, the sunni's realized they were losing the war with the shia, and if they were going to survive at all, they needed to form alliance with what they would call the stronger tribe, the american presence. so petraeus had that kind of good fortune here. he came into the battle at a time when the kinds of strategies the wanted to impose had a good opportunity of working. that's not to minimize him. because other commanders would not have recognized the situation for what is was. his predecessor, george casey, certainly didn't. yet there was luck, but the skillful strategist is one who recognizes the lucky environment and knows what to do with it. i'd agree with you completely.
3:03 pm
>> we're going to have to close this off but thank you. do you have any comments about petraeus coming back to public life? >> not going to come back to public life in the sense of political life? but i think in a few months you'll see him reemerging. he has been adviced -- his career counselor this same guy who advised president clinton after his own stint, and he advises a lot of people, and he is very good at at it. so i think that you haven't seen the last of him. >> thank you so much. [applause]
3:04 pm
>> on your screen is a photograph taken in 1942 in buffalo, new york. university of pennsylvania professor barney zoehler, what are we looking at. >> we're looking at woman who committed suicide during that year, and a photographer happened to be passing by and took the picture. the picture appeared in "life" and won widely acclaimed awards for having been able to capture the moment at the personal's death. the moment at which the person was about to die. and this is really the start of a whole tradition, a whole legacy of photos of people facing death that have cluttered our spaces ever since. >> you use the word clutter, what's they value in saving that picture? >> guest: the value is it pulls us in subjectively. it's a very emotional picture of the dramatic and memorable. it pullness all kinds of emotions through which we're
3:05 pm
able to engage with the event it's depicting, and this is important, because not only do we want to understand what we're seeing but we want to feel important things about what we're seeing. we want to feel fear, anguish, compassion, sentimentality, all kinds of things that helps drive the news for us and make it important. >> host: i want to compare that photo we just saw to a recent new york post front page photo. what are we looking at here? >> this came out just this morning. this was a gentleman from queens who was pushed off of the subway platform and a photographer from the new york post happened to snap his picture, and i think this picture actually el straights where we have come in terms of our public sentiments and professional sentiments.pick tiers of people facing death.
3:06 pm
the first picture in 1942, won awards and generated tremendous acclaim for the photographer. it's taught in photography courses as the kind of picture that people want to have in the news. this picture, and the photographer, and the newspaper, were widely critiqued. people have been saying all day, it's been all over the blogosphere what were they thinking? why did this photographer take the picture? why didn't he help? why this in the newspaper putting this on the front cover. so there's a gap about what these pictures anyone and why they're supposed to do for us. >> host: did this gentleman on the tracks die. >> guest: he did die, and in fact the photographer was criticized for not having helped the gentleman get up from the subway tracks. anybody who knows anything about gravity knows it's very difficult for one individual to pull somebody up from the tracks there were multiple other people
3:07 pm
standing on the platform, and the photographer was reduced to the point of saying that he had actually taken the picture for his flash too alert the conductor to stop the train, chase ludicrous excuse, but shows the degree to which he was fielding criticism for having taken the picture to begin with. >> host: as a professor of communication here at the university of penn -- what's your reaction to that photographer? >> guest: my reaction to that photographer is my reaction to all the photographs that appear in my book that depict pictures of war, pictures of terror, pictures of natural dollars, -- natural disaster, all of which have been capsized of this moment of people facing death, and my argument has been if we're willing to read the news about these events we should be willing to see he pictures. the pictures do different things but they are no less important as vehicles of information than
3:08 pm
are the words at their side. and for as long as we keep saying i want to know about this event but i don't want to see pictures about it, we're not accepting, we're not recognizing how images bring us into the news in way that is different from words. >> host: some would argue this image we're about to show here in "about to tie" is very different than the image of man on the train track or a woman jumping out of a building. >> guest: this is an image taken in the sudan of a small child who was dying of starvation, and a vulture sitting in the background of the shot, waiting to jump its prey. this photograph, i agree with you, is qualitatively different, although it does fit into the larger moment of pictures of people facing death and they're capacity to draw entice the news. this picture, of course, at the
3:09 pm
time, won, again, many awards. it appeared in "time magazine" and then the criticism started coming. and started coming fairly intensively, critiqueing carter for not having helped the child. there were many readers that came at "time" magazine and said, what happened to the child? where did the child and after the public tour was taken and of course carter was not able to provide answers. there were many erroneous answers that were offered. it was said the child had moved to safety at a feeding center. then it was said he had picked the child up. then it was said he didn't pick up the child. and he intent sat in a tree and cried. and in fact the following year, after he was receiving the awards, he committed suicide. the legend went, on newspaper lore, he commit it suicide because he couldn't handle the
3:10 pm
critique leveled against him for having taken that photo. and these photos are not easy. they're not easy to take. they're not easy to see, but they do depict what is going on in the news, and for that reason i think it's important to look at. >> host: i want to back to the "new york post here." would you have taken this photo had you been standing there? >> guest: absolutely i would have taken the photo. i don't think the question of would i have taken the photo is a question that any photographer really asks him or herself. if the news is occurring can the news is taking place, you record expect you record it with what device you have available, whether it's words or pictures and what i tried to do in this book is generate a more empathetic understanding of why pictures are important an their own terms. >> very well known picture. right here. what are we seeing? >> this is the picture of the shooting of the general during the vietnam war. a picture, also problematic, as
3:11 pm
are most of the pictures. this is a picturey the general was shooting a suspected viet cong and the picture was widely recognized and generated discomfort for the photographer who took it. the argument was that -- what he argued is that taking that one picture, against the other pictures, created a criminal out of the general who was actually doing the shooting. gave him notoriety. made it difficult fork him to live a so-called normal life after the fact. the argument is that these pictures, because they slice a very particular moment out of a larger sequence of action, there always is some kind of tension about what they actually tee picket, versus what actually
3:12 pm
more generally happened. >> host: professor, related issue of public policy issue that we have been facing the last couple of years. fallen soldiers, dead u.s. soldiers, even arriving in their caskets at dover, should those images be shown? >> guest: i would say those images absolutely should be shown. i think what has happened is the reason why a picture of somebody facing death has become so prevalent -- and i argue it appears across the landscape of unsettled difficult events. the reason this picture has arisen is because we have pictures -- we have grown used to pictures of death. our news events involve death. if they involve death of military, death of terror victims can death of people who are dying in tsunamis and
3:13 pm
earthquakes, why shouldn't we see system we see pictures of nate our fiction, in film, on the internet, yet we're not comfortable about seeing them in the news, and i think that is worth thinking about. >> host: professor, a professor of communication here at the an annenberg school at the university of pennsylvania, published by oxford. "about to die" is the name of the book. this is booktv on c-span2.
3:14 pm
disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 2/10/2013